Readers of this blog may have noticed a trend where visits to bigger cities are marked by an inability to leave. Thunder Bay was no different. Though a search for good coffee shops came up empty, my hosts recommended a new spot downtown. Once I finally got moving, shortly after 9, I made my way there and had some of the best coffee on this trip. Kudos, Thunder Bay. As an added bonus I missed a downpour while inside. The cafe is in a church recently converted to a community centre. A religious conversion I can get behind.
After the two coffees it was time for groceries. I stocked up with the usual supplies then grabbed a prepared lunch on the way out. As I was eating it I realized I had bought lunch supplies, which have a 50% or so chance of spoiling before I can use them. Maybe not my smartest move.
From there it was off to the Terry Fox memorial, situated at the lookout near the end of the Marathon of Hope. The statue was striking, stirring up memories for all of the Terry Fox runs I’ve done, and also of the ravages of cancer, a disease we are still far from solving almost 40 years after his run. Two aspects of the memorial really stood out. First, the French inscription on one panel said “Ils aspirent une meilleure patrie,” (they aspire for a better country), in reference to Fox’s Order of Canada. Presently, they say “Ils veulent une meilleure patrie” (they want a better country), and recently it was “ils désirent une meilleure patrie” (they desire a better country). The original Latin is “desirantes meliorem patriam.” The Governor General’s website does not mention why the change in interpretation occurred. In English the term “desire” is still preferred. Second, the statue was erected nine months after his death, and 18 months after he ended the run. This seemed shockingly fast, given our politicians can’t seem to get anything done anymore.
Next it was off to a random gas bar, where I was feeling exhausted and had an ice cream and a coffee. Curiously, the warm comfy beds of cities, and the lack of train whistles, seem to make me more tired. Caffeinated, I headed another 70 km down the road and then saw another convenience store where I could use a flushing toilet, so in I went. The burger shack was too tempting so I sat down for an excellent burger and fries. This was one of the best burgers I’d ever had. Juicy, nice toppings, no attempts to impress / show off. The fries were ok. For $10 I was quite happy.
Finally, it was time to head for Nipigon, now quite late in the day. I fought an increasingly strong headwind into the town, then near the end got to ride on the new side of what will soon be a twinned highway. The new side had no shoulders, something I couldn’t believe was built in the 21st century!
Nipigon has Canada’s smallest Canadian Tire, and a beautiful marina by the river. The marina runs a small campground with wifi, showers, flush toilets, and space to clean your dishes. Top notch. Hopefully after a good sleep I can tackle a long day to somewhere between Terrace Bay and Marathon. Stiff headwinds and loads of hills do not make me optimistic, however.
Today’s distance: 139.7 km
Cumulative distance: 3,343.3 km
Today’s climb: 820 m